NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - Belmont University men's basketball returns to game action Thursday at Eastern Kentucky.
Belmont defeated SIU Edwardsville, 83-72, Jan. 27. Senior Austin Luke (Rowlett, Texas) scored a game-high 25 points for the Bruins. Luke, the nation's leading returning assist man, ranks eighth nationally in assists per game (7.1) and sixth in total assists (163). The 6-3 guard is Belmont's NCAA Division I era career assist leader and currently ranks seventh among all active college basketball players in career assists (598).
Senior Amanze Egekeze (Lake in the Hills, Ill.) had 13 points vs. SIU Edwardsville to record his 57th career double figure scoring game. The 6-8 forward ranks among OVC leaders in eight statistical categories, including fourth in scoring (16.3) and third in 3-point field goals made (59).
Though he had his streak of 17 consecutive double figure scoring games snapped vs. SIU Edwardsville, junior Dylan Windler (Indianapolis, Ind.) has emerged as one of the top two-way players in college basketball. Windler is among NCAA leaders in double-doubles (10), field goal percentage (.556) and defensive rebounds (162), and has been named NCAA.com National Player of the Week and two-time OVC Player of the Week. Windler scored a season-high 23 points in last season's meeting vs. Eastern Kentucky (2/16/17).
Junior Kevin McClain (Jennings, Fla.) continued his outstanding play this season, scoring 21 points vs. SIU Edwardsville. The 6-2 guard has 15 double figure scoring games this season, and is averaging 13.0 points per game in league games. McClain scored 11 points in 12 minutes off the bench last season at Eastern Kentucky (1/14/17).
Freshman Nick Hopkins (Fayetteville, Tenn.) has been a welcomed spark off the bench for the Bruins. He had 11 points and five rebounds vs. SIU Edwardsville, including a baseline 3-pointer with two minutes remaining. Hopkins has nine double figure scoring games this season, and is threatening Belmont's freshman single-season 3-point field goal record, with 50 makes to date.
For the first time in four seasons, Belmont will be facing Eastern Kentucky without running its offense through two-time All-America selection Evan Bradds ('17). Bradds averaged 21.7 points per game over his final three games vs. Eastern Kentucky. Bradds' younger brother, Ethan, is a redshirt freshman tight end on the Eastern Kentucky football team.
This marks the 15th meeting between Belmont and Eastern Kentucky. Belmont won, 72-59 (1/14/17) and 76-72 (2/16/17), last season.
Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. CT. The game will be broadcast on OVC Digital Network. The live play-by-play of the Voice of the Bruins Kevin Ingram can be heard on the Bruin Sports Network. In-game updates will be available via Twitter @BelmontMBB.